Classics 1942 Willys Packs a Punch with a 398ci Hemi V-8

22:05  01 december  2017
22:05  01 december  2017 Source:   HOT ROD

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While attending a local car show during the late ’70s he came face to face with a 1942 Willys Gasser packed with a 383ci V - 8 . Nothing makes more of a statement under the hood better than a supercharged Hemi V - 8 .

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When you grow up in a family that's devoted to hot rods and custom cars it's easy to see where the influence came from indoctrinating you into the hobby. For Ron Ellis of Wilson, New York, it was commonplace for his family to be on the road to countless rodding events accented by trips to the dragstrip during his formative years. This easily fueled the overall experience with plenty of daily excitement fused with the adrenalin rush generated from the sounds of hopped-up V-8s. It literally took every model kit he'd built at the kitchen table and brought them to life when he walked into the family garage where everything from a 1940 Ford Tudor sedan was being worked on right next to a 1940 Willys pickup or a radical Chevelle.

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Being a hands-on hot rod family, Ron spent plenty of time in the shop holding a wrench, which led to bleeding brakes and even learning the basics of bodywork. While attending a local car show during the late '70s he came face to face with a 1942 Willys Gasser packed with a 383ci V-8. The car, coated in silver metallic gloss with candy red flames made such an impression that he had his picture taken with it. Without a doubt it became his benchmark for the ultimate hot rod.

02-1942-willys-coupe-gasser-street-shaker-ellis© Hot Rod Network Staff 02-1942-willys-coupe-gasser-street-shaker-ellis

By the time he reached high school he bought his first car, a 1966 Nova SS followed by a 1929 Ford pickup. Then one day it happened, while driving home in the family car his dad sighted what he thought was a Willys coupe parked alongside a house on a side road. Turns out it was the same silver 1942 Willys he worshipped since he was a youngster, although the car was sitting out in the elements, as much as they tried it couldn't be bought for a fair price. He kept tabs on the car after graduating from college but eventually it disappeared from the local landscape. Fate works in strange ways though and years later while researching to buy another coupe a series of calls led him to a disassembled 1942 Willys that was waiting to be converted to Pro-Street. Finally coming face to face with the car he chased for decades gave him the opportunity to make a deal and haul it home.

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Nothing makes more of a statement under the hood better than a supercharged Hemi V-8. Starting with a 392ci block it was massaged to 398 ci by K-S Auto of Tonawanda, New York, and filled with a stock crank linked to stock rods wearing 8.0:1 Ross Racing forged aluminum pistons urged by cam from Hot Heads. Warmed-over factory heads make plenty of power while a Weiand 6-71 supercharger sitting on a Cragar intake fed by a pair of Holley 750-cfm carbs delivers plenty of punch. It sparks to life with a Mallory Unilite ignition and dumps spent gases through custom fenderwell headers to a polished 3-inch stainless exhaust with mufflers from Stainless Specialties. Power moves rearward through a reworked TH400 trans by Competition Transmission Services of Tonawanda to a custom driveshaft.

Bob Ida’s 1940 Gasser Willys .
<p>The mid 1960's saw a surge in the popularity of pre-war Willys race cars.</p>The mid 1960's saw a surge in the popularity of pre-war Willys race cars. The two and four doors were a big hit with the race crowd, due to not only their good looks and "speeding while standing still" profile, but their light weight as well. The advantage of being able to add weight where you needed it was a big draw to serious drag racers. Its skinnier waist line gave the racer options he didn't have with many of the other wanna-be race cars that had the looks, but were just too hefty where it didn't count.

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